Tag Archives: Bret McKenzie
The filmmaking team behind 2011’s celebrated film “The Muppets” reunites as Disney’s “The Muppets … Again!” kicked off production last week in London. The all-new global Muppets adventure welcomes Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey to the mayhem, along with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Walter and rest of the Muppets. The film is directed by James Bobin (“Flight of the Conchords,” “Da Ali G Show”), who was just nominated for a BAFTA for “The Muppets” (Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer), and produced by the Academy Award®-nominated team of David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (“The Fighter,” “The Proposal”). With a screenplay by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller (“The Five-Year Engagement”), who is also executive producer with John Scotti, “The Muppets … Again!” will feature music from Academy Award®-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”), who won an Oscar® for best original song for “The Muppets” (“Man or Muppet”). The new film will hit the big screen March 21, 2014.
“It’s great to be back working with the Muppets,” said Bobin, “some of them even remember my name occasionally now. As for the movie, it’s a tip of the hat to the old-school crime capers of the ’60s, but featuring a frog, a pig, a bear and a dog—no panthers, even pink ones—along with the usual Muppet-y mix of mayhem, music and laughs.”
The cast for the new ‘Muppets’ film just keeps getting better and better. Back in December we learned that both Ricky Gervais and Ty Burell were both set to star as two of the three leads in the film, with Gervais being the main character, and Burell playing a “lazy Interpol agent”, but with nothing else known about either character at this time. Now we’ve learned who the final of the three characters in the film will be, and it’ll be no other than Tina Fey, of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ’30 Rock’ fame. Fey is said to be playing a Russian prison guard in the film, so it’s easy to assume that she and Ty Burell will probably working together in the film. The film is said to follow the Muppets, and Gervais, on a European caper, but that’s all we know at this time. It’s also been revealed that the current working title for the film is ‘The Muppets…Again’, but there’s a good chance that won’t be the final title of the film.
Couple of developments coming out of Muppet world about the upcoming sequel that is still unnamed which is due to start filming in January. First, they have confirmed that they will be filming some around London. Beginning in January 2013 and April 2013 they will be doing location work in London for this film that is rumored to set place in Europe only.
Another little tidbit is that Bret McKenzie, who won an Oscar for his song “Man or Muppet” that was in the last Muppet film titled “The Muppets” is returning to write new songs for the film.
Regarding some of the actors, Jason Segel is saying he won’t be in this film, though there is talk of a cameo appearance, for the co-writer and executive producer of “The Muppets” film. On that note the sequel is set to introduce new Muppets and Oscar Winner, Christopher Waltz is playing the villain as an Interpol Agent in the new film.
The previous film “The Muppets” was received with huge accolades and so even though the sequel has some big shoes to fill it seems the plans are in place for another Muppets hit. Who wants to see the new Muppets movie? Who is your favorite Muppet? I like Beaker myself!
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When Walt Disney Pictures released “The Muppets” last Thanksgiving, there were lots of reasons for fans like us to celebrate. After all, most of us have watched “The Muppet Show” for decades, have seen the movies and experienced the marvelous madness of Muppet*Vision 3-D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which is as much a loving tribute to the original TV show as the recent movie).
Now that “The Muppets” is available on Blu-ray and DVD, we’ve gained one more reason to cheer: last month, the Academy Award for Best Song was awarded to “Man or Muppet” from Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Muppets.” And if you haven’t been keeping a list, this was the very first Oscar awarded to a Muppet project, ever!
It was also the first Oscar for New Zealand-born lyricist/composer Bret McKenzie, who found it an amazing thrill to be part of a distinguished Muppet music legacy, which has earned numerous Grammy and Gold Record awards over the decades. “I wanted to make sure the songs sounded like Muppet songs,” he told us. “So I took on the job of producing them, to make them feel cohesive and to help the film itself hold together sonically.”
You can hear “Man or Muppet” and the other great songs in the new multi-disc “Wocka Wocka” Edition that combines a Blu-ray, DVD, movie download and soundtrack album download in one package.
Be sure to check out my Muppets Bluray Review here
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It’s Time to Raise the Curtains on the Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational Soundtrack!
Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the whole Muppet gang are back and ready for their felt-frenzied close-up, as Walt Disney Records is set to release the soundtrack to Disney’s “The Muppets,” the brand new big-screen adventure starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams and the beloved Muppets. Featuring songs written by Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”), updated versions of Muppet classics and familiar hits given the Muppet treatment, the soundtrack arrives in stores and at online retailers Nov. 21, 2011. The film opens nationwide Nov. 23.
Bret McKenzie, who created, co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the hit HBO television series “Flight of the Conchords,” is the music supervisor, as well as the writer/producer of four original songs, including “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Let’s Talk About Me,” “Man or Muppet” and “Me Party.” McKenzie also produced “Pictures in My Head” and “Rainbow Connection.” Stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper join in the singing, as do special guests Feist, Mickey Rooney, Joanna Newsom, and the whistling skills of Andrew Bird.
“Music was always an integral part of the ‘The Muppet Show’ and Muppet films,” McKenzie said. “It’s hard to think of the Muppets without thinking of songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ or ‘Mah Na Mah Na.’ The Muppets don’t sound like anyone else and that’s what’s great about them. It was a huge honor to work on ‘The Muppets’ and I took the job very seriously, even when I was recording a man pretending to be a penguin.”
The Muppets turn in new renditions of “The Muppet Show Theme” (co-written by Jim Henson, the song opened and closed “The Muppet Show” for five seasons in the US and UK, from 1976-1981) the treasured Muppet classic and Academy Award ®-nominated “Rainbow Connection,” (penned by Oscar®-winning composer Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher) as well as the original 1969 version of “Mah Na Mah Na.” The felt gloves come off in new Muppet interpretations of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Also included are the original versions of Paul Simon’s 1972 hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and Starship’s 1985 chart-topper “We Built This City.” The album also features 15 dialogue interstitials from the film.
The following is a complete song list:
- “The Muppet Show Theme” – Performed by The Muppets, this is an updated version of the theme beloved for decades. The song also includes a special appearance by Joanna Newsom.
- “Life’s a Happy Song” – Sung by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter the Muppet, this is one of the key tracks in the score that onscreen grows from a simple tune to an epic production number, “I wrote this in New Zealand when I was in a particularly good mood,” says McKenzie. “I sat down at the piano and it came out very quickly.” The song also features special appearances by Feist and Mickey Rooney.
- “Pictures in My Head” – Kermit the Frog takes a solo turn in this sweetly humorous ballad, in which he remembers only the good stuff about his glory days with his fellow Muppets.
- “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” – Paul Simon’s immortal hit from his 1972 self-titled solo album, is a song that perfectly captures the spirited fun of the film.
- “Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version)” – Written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher, this is perhaps the best-known, best-loved Muppets song of all time. Here it is utterly twisted up by The Moopets (Fozzie Bear’s tribute band to the original Muppets).
- “We Built This City” – Starship’s #1 smash hit from 1985 makes the perfect backdrop as the Muppets strive to save their studio.
- “Me Party” – Destined to become a classic, Miss Piggy and Amy Adams team up for this upbeat, disco diva throw down. McKenzie calls it “A party song for the lonely. Amy Adams did a great job, though Miss Piggy was predictably difficult to work with, I think she was dealing with some personal issues.”
- “Let’s Talk About Me” – One of the soundtrack’s most pleasant surprises is this die-hard hip-hop track, performed with charming malevolence by Chris Cooper (who portrays the film’s villain Tex Richman) and Nathan Pacheco. Said McKenzie, “Turns out that Chris Cooper is dangerous on the mic, and I’m predicting a Dre/Cooper collaboration in the not too distant future.”
- “Man or Muppet” – Performed by star Jason Segel and Walter, this power ballad is sung during one of the film’s emotional high points. Said songwriter McKenzie, “This was one of those songs that really needed a great vocal performance. Luckily, Jason and Muppeteer Peter Linz did an amazing job, coming up with epic vocal takes. Turns out Jason has a voice like Meatloaf’s.”
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – The Muppet Barbershop Quartet of Rowlf, Beaker, Link Hogthrob and Sam the Eagle, takes on the timeless Nirvana hit. Kurt Cobain probably never imagined his music could be Muppetized.
- “Forget You” – Wildly popular and often copied as Cee Lo Green’s classic may be, it’s guaranteed that no one has ever heard a clucked-up rendition like this one from Muppets Camilla and the Chickens.
- “Rainbow Connection” – Here it is, the Oscar®-nominated ballad from “The Muppet Movie” (1979) sung by the beloved Muppet gang.
- “The Whistling Caruso” – Noted whistling virtuoso Andrew Bird puckers his way through this delightful, wordless interlude, performed in the film by Walter.
- “Life’s a Happy Song Finale” – The entire cast teams up for a reprise of the opening number, in a joyous finale that audiences will not soon forget. Shooting the scene shut down Hollywood Boulevard for two nights, and featured 80 dancers and 300 extras.
- “Mah Na Mah Na” – The memorable track from the original “The Muppet Show,” performed by Mahna Mahna and The Snowths.
On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With a screenplay by Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller, the film is directed by James Bobin. Featuring signature celebrity cameos, Disney’s “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.
Disney’s The Muppets soundtrack will be available wherever music is sold on Nov. 21, 2011. A 5-song audio medley (“The Muppet Show Theme,” “Forget You,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Life’s A Happy Song” and “Pictures in My Head”) will debut Friday, Nov. 18 at billboard.com/muppets. The album is available for pre-order at iTunes at the following url: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPreorder?id=474335293&s=143441and at Amazon.com, http://amzn.to/n0CsrG. For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, please visit Disney.com/music, become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusic or follow us at Twitter.com/disneymusic.
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